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Article updated: 1/21/2013 2:08 PM

Kaneland starts budget prep more positively this year

By Susan Sarkauskas

Kaneland school district officials are beginning 2013-14 budget preparation without plans for programming or personnel cuts.

It's something that hasn't happened the last three years, as the district tried to avoid deficit spending.

The news was announced at last week's school board meeting where the board authorized staff members to start work on the budget.

According to Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for business, District 302 is starting in a better position because of several things. It expects to collect about $1.6 million more in property taxes, thanks to a 3 percent inflation factor allowed. The cuts of the previous years are also helping. And so far this budget year, actual expenditures are below budget.

The district's operating funds budgets were $47.23 million in 2009-10, $46.8 million in 2010-11, $47.7 million in 2011-12 and $49.04 million in 2012-13. The figures do not include money spent paying off debt. The taxes collected for the debt are not capped, unlike those collected for operations.

In 2010, the board began budget preparation thinking it might need to cut $5 million in spending to avoid a deficit. Initial plans called for laying off 30 percent of the certified staff. Eventually, the teachers union agreed to postpone that year's 5.6 percent pay increase, in exchange for a guarantee of no layoffs and a one-year contract extension.

In 2011, the board cut planned spending $1 million. And in 2012, it fought a projected $1.1 million deficit by cutting the equivalent of 15 certified workers.

The board is scheduled to adopt a tentative budget June 24, and the final budget Sept. 9. The fiscal year begins July 1.

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